Mrs. Christians Elisabeth Teich (Credit: Benjamin Chasteen/Epoch Times)
Through the narrow and dusty lanes of Sarnath city in India, amidst homes behind the massive Buddhist stupa, one can walk into a small guest house run by a German woman. She defines it as a humble and simple abode, but there’s a palpable calm at her place that embalms even the trees and the flowers growing around. She credits this ever growing peace and love to her spiritual belief of Falun Dafa. Talking to NTD India, she shared her life’s journey so far—this lady is indeed one courageous soul with a heart full of compassion.
hristians Elisabeth Teich first came to India as a 21-year-old art and sculptor student, who loved drawing and sketching for self-learning. At that time she did’t know that she would marry an Indian and make the beautiful city of Sarnath her home. Fondly called as Chris by her family and friends, her life went on a massive journey before it finally drew a uncanny halt at this ancient city.
Chris’s parents were from Germany, and as a child she was in love with nature from a very young age. As she grew up, she got interested in traveling to other countries and experiencing their cultures. During her early 20s, she began studying books on various religions and philosophy. And started traveling, mostly hitchhiking, during short or long holidays—all the while doing temporary jobs to earn.
“I am still in love with nature”, Chris said with a candid calm. “In my early twenties, I had an urge to know life and to see the world—but I didn’t have money, and at times I didn’t even have money to eat. I hitchhiked around France, Spain, Italy, Holland, England, Scotland, Ireland and North Africa. I loved reading books and sometimes even slept in open farms and forests”.
(Credit: Venus Upadhayaya/NTD)
In her late twenties, Chris travelled to Africa and worked as a social worker, setting up schools and child homes. During the Ethiopian famine in 1985, she worked as a volunteer relief worker and experienced misery and death very closely. After seven years working in Africa, she moved to South America and spent the next six years there as a social worker. Having seen the harsh realities of life so closely, her heart was longing to know the true meaning of existence and the real reasons behind all the miseries.
“Questions and quest continued, and one day in Brazil I saw a flyer about Ladakh that pulled me towards India once again. So I came back to India, and after a few years I met my husband and settled down in Sarnath”, she said.
“It’s extremely hot and humid in Sarnath. So every year I started to spend a few summer months in Ladakh. Once I was attending a women’s festival there when I saw a Chinese-Amercian lady doing a set of meditative exercises. I was instantly drawn towards her—she was practicing Falun Dafa meditation”.
Chris reading Zhuan Falun, the main book of Falun Dafa.
(Credit: Venus Upadhayaya/NTD)
Falun Dafa (also known Falun Gong) is an ancient meditation system that is based on the universal principles of “Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance” and has five simple meditation exercises.
Chris has travelled around 55 countries in the world and seen lots of life and spiritualism; she took her time to explore more about Falun Dafa. “It took me a few years to take it up—and when I finally started practicing this ancient spiritual system, it completely changed me. It’s been 15 years since I started to practice Falun Dafa”, she said.
Chris practicing the fifth exercise of Falun Dafa. (Credit: Venus Upadhayaya/NTD)
Chris said her health status was not good earlier but it changed after she started practicing Falun Dafa. “I was mostly sick before and had lots of health issues. But this changed after I took up the practice. Also, now I’m more grounded and calm in day to day situations, whether small or big”, she said.
“After experiencing the joy of good health and a peaceful mind, I felt like sharing this good news with others”, she said. “I started traveling around India to introduce Falun Dafa’s gentle exercises to students and teachers. I have travelled to more than 60 schools in Ladakh, North East India, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka”.
“I share with them the values of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance”, she said. “These basic values are the only hope that can strengthen our morality and uplift our society, bringing hope and prosperity into everyone’s life”.
However, Chris shared that this peaceful meditation practice is under a brutal suppression in China—the country where it was first introduced to the public. “The Chinese communist part is fundamentally atheist, and it has been persecuting and killing innocent Falun Dafa practitioners since 1999. Apart from telling people about Falun Dafa’s immense health benefits, one of the most important reasons of my travelling to educational institutions is to let students know how the innocent practitioners of this meditation system are persecuted in China, while the whole world has embraced this spiritual practice”.
(All Images courtesy of Chris)
Getting a chance to meet this wonderful lady in person is worth cherishing. Before one even gets to know, her calm and joy melts away all the traces of bitterness in one’s life. This elderly lady’s wisdom is rooted deep inside her heart and she never hesitates to share it with any person who’s willing.
As one exits her home and turns around to say her goodbye, the small yellow gate stands as hopeful as the morning sunshine—and outside on the gate is a sticker that reads, “Falun Dafa is good!”